7 retirement trends to watch in 2017
Trisha Brambley, CEO of Retirement Playbook, says it’s critical to vet the team of prospective advisers and the intellectual capital they offer. Her firm offers employers a trademarked service that’s akin to a request for information that simplifies and speeds the competitive bidding process.
While the incoming Trump administration could delay, materially modify or altogether repeal the Department of Labor’s final fiduciary rule, it cannot reverse a “new awareness around the harm that’s created by conflicted advisers and brokers,” cautions David Ramirez, a co-founder of ForUsAll who heads the startup’s investment management. He expects plan sponsors who are managing at least $2 million in their 401(k) to continue asking sophisticated questions about the fiduciary roles his firm and other service providers assume and how they’re compensated. Ramirez points to a marketplace that’s demanding greater transparency, accountability and alignment of goals and incentives irrespective of what the DOL may require.
One way to improve the nation’s retirement readiness is by “fixing all of the broken 401(k) plans with between $2 million and $20 million in assets” that are paying too much in fees, doing too much administrative work or taking on too much liability, according to Ramirez. “In 2014, nearly three out of four companies failed their 401(k) audit and faced fines,” he notes, adding that last year the DOL flagged about four of 10 audits for having material deficiencies with the number being as high as two-thirds in some segments.
While litigation over high fees and the DOL’s fiduciary rule may not have a significant impact on small and mid-market plans, they’re spotlighting the need to make more careful decisions that are in the best interest of plan participants. That’s the sense of Fred Barstein, founder and executive director of the Retirement Adviser University, which is offered in collaboration with the UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education. He predicts there will be less revenue sharing in the institutional funds arena and better vetting of recordkeepers, money managers and plan advisers in terms of their fees and level of experience.